Often frowned upon by Western medical communities, the ancient art of Chinese medicine, more importantly, acupuncture, is steadily gaining acceptance and recognition even among some of modern medicine’s most high-tech doctors and specialists. In recent years, the value of acupuncture has hit record highs when it was shown in several studies that it might as well improve the
chances of infertile patients into having a more ‘productive’ life ahead of them.
Many women who have failed to conceive have often resorted to in vitro fertilization whereby mature egg cells are harvested and allowed to be fertilized in a laboratory setting. The resulting embryo is then implanted in the woman’s uterus for it to grow and develop. However, due to some poorly understood mechanisms, even in vitro fertilizations fail in giving a couple the child they both long for. In such cases, many of these women resort to the centuries-old tradition of acupuncture.
The Use of Acupuncture in Infertility
Acupuncture involves the insertion of small sterile needles into the body in a grid-like pattern that corresponds to different meridians and energy points. It is believed that the needles stimulate these points to bring about harmony in the physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental aspects of an individual’s life.
Several studies have shown that acupuncture can be used as an adjunct in in vitro fertilization procedures so that the fertilized ovum implanted into the uterus can fully benefit from an enhanced and fully optimized body functioning. These studies revealed that acupuncture significantly improved the chances of pregnancy success after in vitro fertilization.
Acupuncture has also been shown to improve the body’s ability to stimulate egg cell production, albeit one egg cell at a time. It is for this same reason that health experts recommend acupuncture more as an adjunct to the more mainstream treatment procedures such as IVF and the use of fertility drugs such as clomiphene citrate. Whereas acupuncture can only stimulate the growth, development, and release of a single egg cell, clomiphene is generally known to stimulate the production and release of multiple egg cells to increase the chances of getting pregnant.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture works by stimulating and moving the life energy, Qi, so that it flows naturally all over the body. It is generally believed that infertility results from a disruption of this natural fluid movement of Qi such that some parts of the body have excess while others are deficient. Acupuncture restores the fluidity of the Qi so that balance is restored. The overall result is that the patient will feel calmer, with a better sense of well-being, and readies her body to accept the role of creating life.
A more scientific explanation has been offered by several experts suggesting that acupuncture’s ability to stimulate the hypothalamic-adenohypophyseal areas of the brain can account for the results seen in acupuncture-assisted in vitro fertilization pregnancy successes. When these areas are stimulated, the action of hormones necessary for egg cell production and maturation, and the resulting ovulation, will be enhanced. Experts further believe that acupuncture’s ability to stimulate the production of endorphins generally leads to a greater sense of well-being and feeling good about oneself.
More and more modern day health experts are turning to age-old traditional healthcare practices to answer some of the most baffling questions in healthcare today. While some may not believe in the effectiveness of acupuncture, the many women who would have otherwise been robbed of their chance to conceive a child are now rejoicing because acupuncture has clearly improved their chances of bringing life into this world.